1 Jan 2017
We returned from 5 nights in Barcelona yesterday, which was New Year’s Eve 2016. We have visited many cities in Europe and other continents, and so are fairly “streetwise”, but how I wish I had read about scams before going to Barcelona!!
If you are visiting Spain you might like to search (Barcelona + scams) before travelling, or try this link: bobarno.com/thiefhunters/barcelona-street-scams
Very near La Diagonal at CARRER de MALLORCA number 334, we were turned over in such a clever way I want everyone to know about it. Apparently it is common enough to be known charmingly as the PIGEON POO SCAM.
It was lunch time, fairly quiet and we had been highlighting our tourist status by taking photos and looking at the map. DO NOT DO THIS in Barcelona!
Suddenly we found ourselves covered in a white liquid that we originally thought must have been a very large bird, or something thrown at us from a balcony, yogurt perhaps? Splattered all down our backs, and on my husband’s face, neck and hair.
A well dressed man who had seemed to be locking an apartment block door came running over saying “let me help you, I will clean you”. He took us into the flats and up the stairs, where I remarked how dark it was!! Then he started handing us tissues and pouring water on them. Despite being shaken I did begin to wonder why he took us up so many floors if he wasn’t actually taking us to running water? While he was swabbing at the stains my husband realised this man was trying to get his wallet and warned me to be careful when the thief came to “help” me. I realise now he searched for a necklace, but he wasn’t very slick as he missed my gold earrings. Next he started working my bag around to my back and I thought, but that can’t be stained, it was UNDER my jacket. I spun around and checked inside my bag, hearing myself say, so politely, “excuse me I think you might have taken my purse?” He indicated it was on the doorstep beside me and started to dash away down the stairs.
I’m certain he was seconds away from lifting our passports and cards, which were (deliberately,) in a separate zipped compartment with some paper money, both Sterling and Euros. He must have been annoyed as my phone was in yet another zipped compartment, and my camera attached to my wrist.
Very shocked and shaken we found a police station to report the incident. A young officer was kind and attentive, but also clear…. this happens ALL THE TIME in Barcelona. It is the worst city in Europe for thieving and scams he told me, with what might have been some pride?? “Nothing taken so no real harm done, enjoy your days.”
Thankfully we only lost our pride and confidence, and we have learned from the experience!
Barcelona is an interesting and vibrant city. It is also smelly, dirty, and plastered in graffiti, which often says “Tourists GO HOME”.
We will not be visiting Barcelona again.sad